Is FOS the Financial Ombudsman Service fit for purpose?
An investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches program reveals how untrained FOS claims handlers are using Google to research products due to inadequate training.
The programme, due to air tonight (“Undercover: Who is policing your bank” 12th March 8pm) shows how an undercover reporter, posing as a trainee investigator, asked members of FOS staff if it was easier to reject a claim. They were told that it was, because informing the claimant was easier than negotiating with the company involved. Another claimed to have said that had “just taken a chance and just slung stuff through, with any old decision“.
During the last few years the Ombudsman have been under mounting pressure with Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims. According to the Daily Mail report, almost half a million complaints were rejected by FOS since April 2010. That’s half a million people cheated out of the compensation they may have been due.
With the average PPI compensation claim being £2,000 (source: The Guardian March 2017), that amounts to a staggering £1billion the banks have not had to re-pay to their customers.
MP Rushanara Ali said the FOS should now appear before MPs, ‘to demonstrate that they have satisfactorily dealt with cases in the past.’ If the FOS cannot do that ‘then members of the public will want to go back and have their cases reviewed where appropriate.’
This could, again, open the flood gates for PPI complaints. And with the deadline looming, August 2019, it looks like the banks are in for another influx of claims.
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